Dr Hellmuth Weich

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Participation and Social Justice

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 257 7984

E: HWeich@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/appliedsocialsciences

 

Personal profile

Child Protection

Child abuse

Linking theory and practice in social work

Family therapy

Narrative family therapy

Narrative research methodologies

Transcultural social work

Protecting young people online

International social work

Social Action Research

Social Development

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

  • Antenarratives in family therapy.
    Antenarratives in family therapy. Weich, Hellmuth Researchers and policymakers have become increasingly aware of the value of talking therapies and service providers are confronted with the need to deliver these cost-effectively. Amongst service providers, social workers are at the front line of rendering these kinds of services to families and people in the community. Yet in the UK theyoften do not have the training or / ., experience to provide interpersonally mediated talking-therapy services to people who specifically need them. This thesis suggests that a therapeutic approach, informed by the narrative and family therapy traditions, might be particularly useful, and its applicability and explores its theoretical development by means of case examples. Narrative therapy is particularly germane to the concerns of social work, in that it takes an ethical stance on people's stories, and addresses issues of oppression and the consequences of being marginalised. There have been few studies exploring the application and outcome of narrative therapy, mainly due to a lack of appropriate developed methodologies. The goal of this study was to develop a methodology that could indicate changes in the stories of families. Boje's (2001) idea of exploring the 'antenarratives' - the speculative precursors to full-fledged narratives - was adopted for this purpose. The present study tried to answer two research questions. These are whether an antenarrative methodology can be used to illustrate changes in the stories of families in order to assess the outcome of narrative family therapy, and whether this methodology can be used to track both grand and micro narratives and the changes that take place in these stories. The study was conducted from a practitioner-researcher perspective, with the researcher applying a model of narrative family therapy with participants from several families. For darity's sake, this thesis restricts itself to a detailed case-study account of the transcripts of a series of sessions with ') two families. A baseline narrative was analysed after the first session and a second base line after the sixth session. After each of the two analyses, changes were suggested to refine th~ approach. The conclusions reached are that the antenarrative approact) helps to track the development and construction of families' stories. Themaps illustrating how different themes deverop and interact in particular were helpful in illustrating both this and the ways in which stories develop rules and strategies to justify their own existence. It was recommended that the methodology be split into three sections depending on the goal of the study. The first part addresses the initial understanding to help sift through large volumes of data, whilst the grand and micro narratives helping to understand what is happening to stories and why this takes place. The latter part, concerned with narrative type, authorship, and comparative questions, is able to show what has changed and how this has occurred. The theoretical contributions made are that stories should not be seen , as two-dimensional and linear, but as multi-dimensional entities in which multiple stories interact with one another. The idea of a 'Tamara' - a play on multiple stages - is helpful in understanding how stories interact with one another and how the point or angle of view will determine the stories we hear and see. It also highlights the idea that families should not be seen as singlestory entities, but as living multiple stories, and formulates the issues so that they can be applied in social work contexts. The concepts of a grand and micro narrative were easily integrated with narrative therapy's idea of developing thick descriptions of people's lives, i and can turn the observer's gaze back upon the professionals to show how social workers police families through the process of providing help, thereby enhancing the profession's reflective capacities.

Click here to view a full listing of Hellmuth Weich's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

McClenachan, J; Smith, R; &Weich, H. 2013 Evaluating the Step up to Social Work Programme

2009 to 2013: Children who Care: Social Action Research project with the University of the Free State, South Africa and 5 local schools. (£28 000 over 3 years)

Principal Researcher

This Social Action Research project is currently in its 2nd year where 150 grade 11 students from 5 schools collaboratively research needs of vulnerable children in their community. The primary aim is to explore and identify the support needs of vulnerable children, especially those who live with the consequences of HIV/AIDS through Social Action Research. Students are also helped to develop and use ICT and research skills. This project uses distance learning, with DMU staff providing the training online to students in South Africa. In August 2010, it won the South African Final of the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum Award (ITF) was awarded a second place at the African Finals in Kenia and then presented their project to the World finals in Cape Town.

Weich, H; Fleming, J; Mclenachan, Sout, B & Smith, R. 2013. International research and exchange of social work professionals with South Africa

Fleming, J. & Weich, H. 2008. “Training manual for the National Program on the Development of an Integrated System of Social Services” in Moldova.

Research interests/expertise

  • Children and families
  • Child Protection
  • Narrative ways of working
  • International social work
  • Culturally sensitive social work practice
  • Social action research.

Areas of teaching

  • Social Work Skills (Counselling skills)
  • Working with Children and Families
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Social Work Law
  • Child Protection

Qualifications

B. Soc. Sc. (Social Work) 1991    

University of the Free State, SA

M.Soc. Sc (Social Work) 1995   

University of the Free State, SA

Ph.D  2007      

Title: Antenarratives in family therapy.

De Montfort University, UK

Courses taught

  • Research methodology
  • Medical Social Work
  • Theoretical perspectives in Social Work
  • Child Protection
  • Evidence Based
  • Social Work and the Law

Membership of external committees

  • 2010 to present: JUSWEC: International Subcommittee
    Member of National Committee
  • 2011 to present: Wolverhampton University
    External examiner
  • 2012: Anglia Ruskin University
    External Assessor for the new Social Work Degree:
  • 2013: De Montfort University: School of Health and Life Sciences
    Internationalization Committee.

Conference attendance

  • Weich, H. 2013. Antenarratives in the stories of families: A possible qualitative research tool. Solution focussed, Enactive and Narrative Research Conference: University of Hertfordshire, UK.
  • Weich, H., Smith, R., Fleming, J., Mclanachen, J. 2012. International Research and Exchange of Social Work Professionals between England & South Africa. European Conference for Social Work Research. Basle, Switzerland.
  • Weich, H. 2011. International collaboration and exchange: lessons from two countries. International Exchange Opportunities in Social Work Education and Practice Colloquium.
  • Weich, H., Fleming, J. & Mkhize, Z. 2007. Antenarratives as a possible tool for doing Social Action Research. International Association of Social Workers Conference, Durban, South Africa.
  • Weich, H. 2003. Assessing change in the narratives of families using antenarratives. CSRC New Researchers Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Weich, H. 1995. The use of Narrative Therapy in Transcultural Family Therapy Pretoria, South Africa.

Consultancy work

2011 to 2013: CWDC Contract: Evaluating the Step up to Social Work Programme (£110,000)

Researcher

De Montfort University was commissioned by the Child Workforce Development Programme, CWDC (Department of Education) to evaluate the Step up to Social Work Programme.

2009 to 2013: Children who Care: Social Action Research project with the University of the Free State, South Africa and 5 local schools. (£28 000 over 3 years)

Principal Researcher

This Social Action Research project is currently in its 2nd year where 150 grade 11 students from 5 schools collaboratively research needs of vulnerable children in their community. The primary aim is to explore and identify the support needs of vulnerable children, especially those who live with the consequences of HIV/AIDS through Social Action Research. Students are also helped to develop and use ICT and research skills. This project uses distance learning, with DMU staff providing the training online to students in South Africa. In August 2010, it won the South African Final of the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum Award (ITF) was awarded a second place at the African Finals in Kenia and then presented their project to the World finals in Cape Town.

2010 to May 2012: International research and exchange of social work professionals with South Africa (£45,000)

Project leader and principal researcher

This is a pilot project that focus on an international research and exchange of learning using a wide range of differing technological methods (Skype, Communities of Platform, Huddle, email, video conferencing) and a practical exchange visit aimed at social work professionals. The purpose of this exchange will be amongst other, to bring together a collective of informed professionals to share and exchange ideas and experiences; to facilitate an interactive system of peer support and action learning forums and share, compare and contrast current and best practice models of social work delivery

2009 to 2010: “National Program on the Development of an Integrated System of Social Services” in Moldova.

Consultant and trainer

Project done in collaboration with DfiD (Department for International Development); OPM (Oxford Policy management) and the Every Child Project.

The Centre for Social Action has asked me to act as a consultant in work being done in Moldova, entitled “National Program on the Development of an Integrated System of Social Services”. This project consisted of firstly developing a curriculum for social work (Social assistants) training in Moldova and providing training to the team responsible for training staff members. An important component of this project was setting up online resources for trainers.


2008/9
: Mpilonhle Project: South Africa

Principal researcher

Setting up and developing research, exploring the lives and experiences of children who have been left orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.
 

2007: Braunstone Community Primary School, Leicester, UK

Principle researcher

Principal researcher for a project on conjunction with Braunstone Community Primary School, Leicester. The goal of the project was to involve fathers in crime prevention and developing reading and writing skills of young boys through the involvement of their fathers. Learning material developed from this project was adopted and used in many other schools in Leicester. 
 

2000 to 2003: Academic Link between Fort Hare University, South Africa and De Montfort University, VSO and the British Council. (value: £35 000 over 3 years)

Project leader

I was the lead at Fort Hare University for the development of the Probation Training Programme at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, in partnership with DMU, VSO and the British Council.

Hellmuth Weich

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